Will Deer Eat Salvias Plants? Top Tips For A Deer-Resistant Yard

Will Deer Eat Salvias Plants?

Part of my job is spraying deer repellent and setting up mechanical ways to keep deer out of people’s yards. Today, we’ll look at deer-repellent tips and natural deer repellents, and answer the question: will deer eat salvias plants?

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Introduction: The Quest for a Deer-Resistant Garden

Every gardener dreams of a beautiful garden, but the local deer population often turns that dream into a nightmare. Hungry deer are known to munch on favorite plants, especially when food sources are scarce. But fear not, for there are ways to maintain a beautiful garden while keeping it deer-resistant.

Understanding Deer Preferences

Deer have their favorite foods, such as arborvitae, hostas, daylilies, and azaleas. However, they’ll eat almost anything in your garden if hungry. In general, they tend to avoid plants that are highly fragrant, fuzzy, or have an unpleasant texture.

The Magic of Salvia Plants

Salvia plants, commonly known as sage, are a great addition to any garden aiming for deer resistance. These herbaceous perennials come in beautiful colors and are known for their strong smell, which often deters deer. Here’s why salvias are a top choice:

Full Sun Lovers: Most salvia varieties thrive in full sun, making them perfect for flower beds with plenty of sunlight.

Bloom Time: From early spring to late summer, and even early fall for some varieties, salvias are prolific bloomers. Whether it’s the blue salvias in early summer or the red flowers of autumn sage in early fall, they ensure colorful flowers for a long time.

Deer Resistance: Salvia plants, especially varieties like salvia nemorosa and salvia officinalis, have a strong scent that deer find off-putting. This makes them less likely to be a target for deer browsing.

Other Deer-Resistant Plants to Consider

While salvias are a fantastic choice, diversifying your garden with other deer-resistant plants can further reduce the chances of deer damage:

Lenten Rose: Blooming in late spring, this low-maintenance plant is a favorite among gardeners for its deer resistance.

Butterfly Bush: With its long-blooming flowers and sweet scent, it’s a favorite for gardeners and butterflies but not for deer.

Pineapple Sage and Mexican Bush Sage: Both these sages, with their strong smell, are excellent choices for deer-resistant gardens.

Bee Balm: This ornamental plant with its colorful flowers and pungent smell is another deer deterrent.

Pampas Grass: Its spiky foliage plants make it less appealing to deer.

Deep Dive into Deer-Resistant Plants

Many popular deer-resistant plants are highly scented, particularly alliums, sages, and similar plants, such as salvia and Russian sage. Plants like the French Marigold, Foxglove, and Rosemary are also known to deter deer.

Another strategy is to use plants with strong scents, fuzzy leaves, tough or spiny textures, or poisonous compounds. For instance, plants like the Bleeding Heart, Potentilla, Catmint, Boxwood, and Daphne are known to be less appealing to deer.

Tips for a Deer-Resistant Yard

1. Physical Barriers: Consider installing physical barriers like fences to keep deer out. While this might not be feasible for larger areas, it’s perfect for vegetable gardens or smaller flower beds.

2. Deer Repellents: Available at your local garden center, these can be sprayed on plants to deter deer.

Liquid Fence Animal Repellent, 128 Oz, Multicolor
  • REPELS DEER AND RABBITS: Deer and rabbits don’t have to eat vegetation for the repellent to be effective—they have a natural aversion to the scent
  • SPRAY ON PLANTS: Use to treat landscaped ornamental gardens, flowers, shrubs, trees and vines
  • RAIN RESISTANT: Ready-to-use liquid formula starts to work immediately
  • HARMLESS TO PLANTS AND ANIMALS: Won’t harm plants and animals when used and stored as directed
  • APPLY YEAR-ROUND: No need to rotate with other repellent brands – animals’ natural aversion to Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent Ready-to-Use2 will never diminish
Enviro Pro 1006 Deer Scram Repellent Granular White Pail, 5.75 Pounds, (Packaging May Vary)
  • Deer scram repellent granular shaker can
  • It repels the animal before they nibble on plants
  • Deer scram does not have an unpleasant odor to humans, but discourages unwanted animals from returning to the protected area
  • Deer scram biodegrades into high nitrogen organic nutrients

3. Plant Placement: Place new plants and young plants closer to your home or in areas less accessible to deer. Over time, as these plants grow and develop a strong scent or taste, they can be relocated.

4. Know Your Local Deer Population: Understanding the habits and preferences of your local deer populations can help in smart plant selection.

[Read More: Tips For Getting Rid Of Deer Poop]

The Science Behind Deer Repellents: Ingredients Unveiled

When it comes to keeping deer at bay, the market is flooded with repellents, each boasting its unique formula. But what exactly goes into these products that make them so effective? Let’s delve into the ingredients commonly found in deer repellents:

1. Pungent Smells: One of the primary deterrents for deer is strong, off-putting odors. Many repellents use hot sauce, garlic powder, and liquid dish soap. These ingredients, when combined, produce a scent that’s repulsive to deer but generally pleasant or neutral to humans.

2. Natural Herbs: Some repellents incorporate herbs that deer naturally avoid. Mint, oregano, sage, and thyme are among the top choices. When planted in gardens or used in repellents, these herbs can act as a natural barrier against deer.

3. Eggs and Dairy: Believe it or not, putrid smells can be a significant deterrent for deer. A common homemade repellent recipe involves blending eggs, milk or yogurt, garlic, and cayenne pepper. When sprayed on plants, the resulting mixture can keep deer away for extended periods.

4. Natural Stickers: To ensure the repellent remains effective through various weather conditions, some products, like Deer Out, use natural stickers. These ingredients help the repellent adhere to plants, making them rain-resistant.

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This ingredient, often found in personal care products, can also be used in deer repellents. While it doesn’t harm the plants, it can deter deer when they come in contact with it.

6. Capsaicin: Derived from chili peppers, capsaicin is the compound that gives peppers their heat. When used in repellents, it can cause discomfort to deer if they attempt to eat the treated plants.

7. Blood Meal and Cayenne Pepper: A combination of blood meal and cayenne pepper can be used as a granular application. Deer do not like the scent and taste of these ingredients.

While many commercial deer repellents use a combination of the ingredients mentioned above, you should choose a product that aligns with your gardening philosophy. Whether you’re leaning towards an all-natural solution or a commercial product, understanding the ingredients can help you make an informed decision.

[Read More: Eco-Friendly Mosquito Solutions]

Plants To Target With Deer Repellent

Plants that are commonly targeted by deer and thus may benefit from being sprayed with deer repellent include:

1. Hostas: These shade-loving plants are often called “deer candy.” Their broad, tender leaves are a favorite snack for deer.

2. Daylilies: While these plants are hardy and can grow in various conditions, deer often nibs their tender shoots and buds.

3. Roses: Deer are particularly fond of the buds, which can be frustrating for gardeners who wait for their roses to bloom.

4. Tulips: The bulbs, shoots, and flowers of tulips can all attract deer, especially in early spring when other food sources might be scarce.

5. Azaleas and Rhododendrons: These shrubs, especially when young, can be targeted by deer.

6. Arborvitae: This evergreen is often used as a hedge or screen, but its soft foliage can be a magnet for deer, especially in winter.

7. Hydrangeas: The tender buds and leaves of hydrangeas can appeal to deer.

8. Fruit Trees: Young fruit trees, especially their buds and shoots, can be damaged by deer.

9. Vegetable Gardens: Many vegetables, especially leafy greens and beans, can be targeted by deer.

10. Phlox: The buds and flowers of phlox plants can be nibbled on by deer.

When using deer repellents, following the manufacturer’s instructions and reapply as directed is essential, especially after heavy rain. Additionally, rotating between different brands or types of repellents can be effective, as deer may become accustomed to a particular scent or taste over time.

While repellents can be effective, they might not provide 100% protection, especially if the local deer population is high and food sources are limited. In such cases, physical barriers like fencing might be necessary.

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Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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